Weekend in the Only Ice Hotel in Quebec City

By Rahul Dilip Tendulkar, Shaker Heights, Ohio

Editor’s Note: Rahul Dilip Tendulkar was born and raised in Grand Blanc, MI. He went to medical school at the University of Michigan, and finished his residency in radiation oncology at the Cleveland Clinic, where he is at the Taussig Cancer Center. He married Rajani, daughter of Arvind and Deepa Koimattur of Monroeville. The Tendulkars and their two daughters live in the Cleveland Metro area. Rahul enjoys traveling, publishing papers and tennis.

My wife Rajani, daughter of Deepa and Arvind Koimattur of Monroeville, was born on a cold and snowy January day in Pittsburgh in 1978. Naturally, she wanted to spend her milestone 40th birthday not on a warm beach, but rather in an environment similar to the day of her

Rahul and Rajani with their kids in the hotel lobby.

birth. So our family planned a special trip to visit the Hotel de Glace just outside of Quebec City, Canada, which is the only ice hotel in North America. Accompanied by her daughters Parisa and S

amira, myself, and her parents Deepa and Arwind Koimattur, we packed our bags with extreme cold weather gear to withstand the arctic blast that weathermen were predicting to sweep through the continent.

The Hotel de Glace, which is only open from January to March each year, is constructed by local artists who spend weeks putting together the massive structure out of snow and blocks of ice. Like a giant igloo, the indoor temperature remains surprisingly constant around 25 degrees F despite the subzero wind-chill temperatures outdoors.

The hotel is an architectural phenomenon, with a bar, a chapel, and forty-five

Aravind Koimattur enjoying the freezing cold with his wife Deepa and grand kid at the ice hotel.

distinctive guest rooms. The bar area was equipped with bright LED lights, dance music, a fireplace, and drinks served in glasses made of ice — it was quite the party! Intricately designed ice sculptures were there in every corner and even hanging from the arched ceilings.

Each bedroom was uniquely crafted, with beds made of ice and topped by a comfortable mattress with sleeping bags of the same kind as used by explorers

to the North Pole. We carefully tucked in the children first and zipped them up so only their eyes and noses were exposed. Getting ourselves into the sleeping bags proved to be even more tricky, but once we were able to zip ourselves in, our bodies (except for our faces) were remarkably comfortable. As parents, we didn’t sleep much that night, but our children slept like babies. We all woke up with a sense of accomplishment having survived a night outdoors in the coldest place we have ever visited! It was certainly an occasion to remember for the January birthday girl.  ♣


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